The artists in This is Killing Me — Whitney Bedford, Karl Haendel, Andrew Kuo, Sean Landers, Kalup Linzy, Shana Lutker, Marco Rios, and Joe Zane — maintain practices grounded in self-reflection, portraying in their work the apprehensions and dilemmas of their processes. Present in much of the work are deep feelings of inadequacy — the artist plagued by the idea that she or he is not good enough, hard-working enough, or famous enough (and never will be). Some of the work unveils the sources — or lack thereof — of the artist’s inspiration, laying bare the unending pressure to develop meaningful and original ideas. Other work gives shape and form to the creative process, pointing to the labor, the hand of the artist, and accompanying procrastination entailed in making art. Ultimately, many of the pieces derive content from an engagement with psychoanalysis and a mining of one’s own unconscious and psyche. The works presented, far from becoming cathartic votives, are embodied monuments to the complexities of artistic practice.
In contrast to the popular mythology of the studio as a site of inspired genius, these artists depict the studio as a space of always difficult labor, laced more with self-doubt than triumphant brilliance. Part and parcel of the pervasive uncertainties of economic distress, war, and environmental collapse that define our moment, the works in This is Killing Me reveal the specific anxieties of artists in these generally anxious times.
Organized by Diana Nawi, an intern from the Williams College-Clark Art Institute Graduate Program in the History of Art, the exhibition is part of the continuing series of MASS MoCA exhibitions presented in collaboration with the Clark Art Institute in support of MASS MoCA and the Williams College/ Clark Graduate Program in the History of Art. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has been placing interns from its graduate program in the curatorial department at MASS MoCA since well before MASS MoCA opened its doors.
Download a PDF of the exhibition guide.
Marco Rios, Moving Equilibrium (performance), 2006